Internalizing Your Art and Show and Tell!

When it comes to learning new things we all have methods. When it comes to music, its drilling it into my body over and over again until I can’t stand it any longer.

I recently sorted all the songs in my playlist “SCA Songs to Learn” and was wondering: is 418 plays a lot? I added Rocky Road to Dublin Nov. 2014. As opposed to Queen of Argyll which was added Aug. 2018 with 199 plays. I find the data telling, and interesting.

A snapshot in time of my playlist
A temporal snapshot of my playlist as of Sept. 2019

What are your favorite performance pieces? Do you have recordings that you listen to? What are your numbers? Care to share your list?

Using the voice as an instrument, how do you best learn a song? Do you get the lyrics and reread them? Listen to the song repeatedly? Tap rhythms as you listen? Learn the music?  A mixture of these and/or more?

Screen shot or share your playlists!

So many other questions! For bonus points, read on…

This goes in to other areas fairly quickly. Do you only learn songs you love? Songs that you can stand listening to over and over? Stories or songs that are technically easier? Pieces that are popular? Curious about others thoughts all along the spectrum from professional bards, to people who just love to sing one song or tell one story.

What do you know anyway?! Songs you know.

We all know a bard or other accomplished performer that is really good at what they do. But whether you have considered jumping knee deep into the bardic scene or not, Im sure you have seen all kinds of opinions on how you should do it.

I know Sophia the Orange would slap my hand here, but I consider myself a baby bard, so take what follows with a grain of salt. Since there are many others more appropriate than I to school the great unwashed in how to do what they do, I have a specific question:

Do you try to memorize all your pieces?

Despite those hazy ‘misspent’ fun days in the 80’s that wrecked my memory, I try very hard to find songs that have legs, and commit them to memory. Part of the reason I try to memorize, is that I love to move around and interact (no I’m not Italian). I need to engage the audience and try to project as well as entertain. The songs I tend to perform usually run afoul of ‘period’ and are bawdy. Some of the stand up I’m working on is bawdy, but at least that is period ;p

I think it is important, like a DJ, to be able to see and interact with the audience to see where their preferences may lie, who are the people you can interact with. Who are the people you can get to sing a little louder when you notice they know the chorus etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I know ‘Book Bards’ who play mostly from books. This makes them no less effective, and opens their repertoire to an extent Ill never achieve. I love hearing songs I haven’t heard in a long time, if ever!

If you are someone who memorizes songs, does your song list grow and grow forever? There is a bard that stops by our camp every year it seems at Pennsic, and he knows all the songs by heart it seems (me, in awe). Im amazed that someone can know so much, though I shouldn’t be given the amount of 80’s songs I know by heart.

In the end it may all come down to charisma, engagement, timing, luck, whether there is water on Mars, etc… Perhaps I need to swap out my 1980 with 1480.

As a closer, I’ll leave something I like to say just here….

“It isn’t the best voice, it’s the voice thats heard”